Saturday, November 3, 2012

Jerusalem Artichokes

J-chokes in the house!

I've been all about these guys lately. Five years ago, I responded to a Craigslist ad listing free jerusalem artichoke plants. I picked them up from a neighbor, and ended up chatting with her a bit and learning about her lovely gardens. She had a company that makes renaissance fair clothing, and she smoked small cigars. I actually love answering ads like this because you invariably meet some interesting people.

I planted them in an inhospitable spot, on purpose, because jerusalem artichokes are known to take over, and I didn't want a billion of them. Well, I did a good job because I didn't get very many for the past few years. The plants would grow and deer would chomp them down. But this year, they grew tall and even bloomed! And when I walked past them recently with a shovel, I dug in to see if anything had happened underground. And lo, there were many large tubers. There's nothing like digging food out of the ground. I know that sounds weird, but for some reason it touches a very deep part of the reptilian brain in me. There's something very satisfying about it.

I replanted a bunch of the little tubers, and even transferred a few to a sunny spot with good soil. We'll see what happens. Maybe I'll be sick of them next year! Do you know what they say about eating j-chokes? (I just made that up, but they are also known as sunchokes.) They are a little difficult to digest, and they create a little bit of, shall we say, wind. So, it's not bad to have a small crop and eat them for a few weeks a year. Your partners will thank you.

Many recipes call for the skin to be peeled, but I find that unnecessary. You can make relish or pickles from them, but I chose not to because I've got plenty of pickles already. I ate them fresh instead--thinly sliced and roasted with some olive oil in a 400 degree over. Then I pan fried them in halves using this recipe from Jamie Oliver.

Last night I made them into little veggie pancakes. They were awesome! But alas, it's the end of the harvest. I'll make these again next year.

4 cups of grated j-chokes
1 medium onion, also grated
1/4 cup whole wheat white flour
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix dry ingredients well, beat egg separately. Add both to a bowl with the veg in it and mix well. Make 1/3 cup mounds on a well-oiled baking pan. Squeeze out the liquid from each one before putting it on the tray. Then flatten each mound. Bake for twenty minutes; they should look browned and crispy at the edges. Flip them, and then bake another 15 minutes.

Serve with greek yogurt and spicy tomato apple chutney. (Or something along those lines!)

My front yard.


  1. zomg I love Jerusalem artichokes. Had no idea what they were until a couple years ago. I adore their nutty flavor and crunch.

    1. I love them too! Everyone always describes them as bland, but I really disagree!